Sen.Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on Sunday, Aug. 9, that any U.S. company wishing to acquire part or all of the business of the Chinese TikTok application must prove that it has no ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Cotton explained during the Fox News program, “Sunday Morning Features,” that TikTok’s parent company must be American, as must its operational aspects, not only the servers and data but also the source code, algorithms, and the engineers.
“And I think we have to be reasonably skeptical about any American companies to do that,” said Cotton. “They have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the U.S. government that they can sever all those ties [with the Chinese Communist Party].”
Cotton’s announcement follows from President Donald Trump, who last week issued executive orders sanctioning several Chinese social networks such as WeChat and TikTok.
The president invoked the National Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which allows him to prohibit transactions between U.S. and foreign entities, setting a 45-day limit for TikTok to find a U.S. buyer.
So far, Microsoft is listed as the leading company interested in buying TikTok. However, President Trump said the U.S. Treasury should be paid as part of any agreement between the social networking platform and a U.S. company.
Microsoft detailed that it may invite other U.S. investors to participate in a minority in the purchase of TikTok.
As U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recalled, Chinese software companies were “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus.”
“Could be their facial recognition patterns. It could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to. Those are the issues that President Trump has made clear we’re going to take care of,” Pompeo said, according to The Guardian.
Last Thursday, a federal committee, headed by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), approved President Trump’s decision to ban TikTok, arguing that the Chinese application could not remain in the government because it “risks sending back information on 100 million Americans.”
Cotton congratulated President Trump for taking the step to ban TikTok in America “if it’s not wholly owned and operated by an American parent company.”
“I encouraged the administration about a year ago to conduct the security review that ultimately led to this decision,” Cotton said.